Nova woke up the next morning in a rather sore body. She stretched out her limbs while still in bed, trying to work off some of the pain.

It wasn’t just her shoulder. That had mostly healed, in fact. But the sequelae of the previous night’s stunts were starting to be felt. Slamming a truck into another vehicle at high speed was little different from being involved in an actual car crash. Nova had had time to brace for impact, of course, and when her body had been warmed up and full of adrenaline, she hadn’t suffered many adverse effects. But now, with a night’s rest cooling down her muscles, she realized once again that she wasn’t quite as indestructible as Sirius was.

It wasn’t debilitating, though. She’d likely be fine by tomorrow.

Rubbing the sleep out of her eyes, Nova slowly crawled her way out of bed and carelessly dug into her suitcase for clean clothes. She found the same outfit she’d worn on the plane trip to Verizen, with the suspender skirt and black thigh-highs. It had already been cleaned and pressed by the suitcase’s internal mechanisms upon being stored back into it, so Nova put it on without further ado, though she left her hair unbound, this time.Continue reading

Rana sat on the living room couch, leaning her body against Fareed with her cheek resting against his shoulder. Her eyes were fixed on the TV before her, but her mind was focused on something else entirely.

Namely, the girl her son had invited into their home yesterday.

And the implication of that girl’s presence here.

Of course, Rana’s concerns weren’t as frivolous as Camilla’s. Rana’s daughter was convinced that Sirius and Nova were lovers. Camilla felt threatened, as if their guest would steal Sirius’s attention away from her. Which is why she was currently sulking in her room after being excluded from tonight’s outing. Rana too was curious about the exact nature of the relationship between the two teenagers, but her actual worries were somewhat more serious than that.Continue reading

Sirius lay prone behind a wall. Fragments of plaster and stone dust rained down all around him as the gunmen at the other end of the hallway sprayed assault rifle fire toward his position.

Alarmingly many bullets made it through the wall, but it was thick enough that even the few that touched Sirius’s body didn’t have much momentum anymore and bounced harmlessly off his suit. Still, their enthusiasm in expending all their ammunition did force him to keep his head down, at least for the moment. He wouldn’t die from a direct hit or three, but a few of his ribs might break. Healing from that wouldn’t be an issue but would take a little time. Considering the amount of work he still had to complete after this hotel, however, he couldn’t afford that.

Ordinarily, he would’ve pushed himself a bit and dealt with his trouble on his own, but tonight, he wasn’t alone. The situation changed.

Suddenly, out of the six sources of gunfire aiming for him, one fell silent. The others also faltered, and in the momentary hush, Sirius heard the dull thump of a body toppling to the floor.Continue reading

“We’re there,” Wieslaw said solemnly from the driver’s seat.

Sirius, riding shotgun – a bit more literally than usual, considering the weaponry he carried – looked through the windshield and nodded, solemnly.

Behind them, in the back of the van, Nova… Nova solemnly played Tetris on the van’s wall of computer screens. There were 12 screens in total, 12 simultaneous games. Enough to toss out Wieslaw and Sirius’s names from the high score table and monopolize all its top spots.

Sirius looked back from his seat. “Nova, could you take this seriously, please? We’re about to start.”Continue reading

Nova lay atop her bed in Sirius’s house, waiting for the hour to come.

The briefing and subsequent debate on how they would proceed to best dismantle this organ trafficking ring had taken most of the afternoon. Since her two companions had vastly more experience when it came to such matters, Nova mostly let them make the decisions and only interjected when absolutely necessary.

Still, a growing sense of trepidation had sprouted inside her as she realized more and more starkly that she’d somewhat underestimated the balance between the two sides.

Three barely superpowered dumbasses against truckloads of armed gangsters. With victims – in other words, potential hostages – Sirius and Wieslaw insisted on saving.Continue reading

“Oh, a visitor? Invited by Mr. Antema, I suppose?” the teacher asked pleasantly. “Are you a prospective student visiting the campus?”

‘No. I’m an actress,’ Nova said, before tilting her head toward Sirius next to her. ‘This loser over here hired me to pretend to be his girlfriend for the day so that he could show off. Revolting, isn’t it?’

The stunned silence that met this shameful revelation of Sirius’s dastardly motives was glorious. Nova was very proud. Sirius, on the other hand, was quietly burying his face into his palms while muttering imprecations under his breath. The gazes of the other students aimed in their direction became heavy.

Or maybe they’re just wondering what kind of actress can neither emote nor speak with her own voice.Continue reading

Hunting for a traitor is hard work.

And to make things worse, it’s not the kind of work I can delegate to my subordinates. Otherwise, I open myself up to the risk of that very subordinate being the traitor and spending the whole time they’re supposed to be investigating covering their tracks. And then coming to me with a report implicating someone who’s actually loyal.

The universe might just spit in my eye like this. It has that kind of sense of humor.

No, better to do it myself.Continue reading

Strong…

The Major is strong.

My arms ache as I swing my sword one more time. Even in my current state, it’s far and away a cleaner, stronger slash than I’ve ever managed during training. This fight has pushed me past my limits time and time again.

However, my sword is once again deflected. Before it can reach its target, an invisible force pulls the blade to the side.Continue reading

I lose consciousness for a few seconds before my body forces me awake, despite its pitiful state. When I open my eyes, I find myself… underwater.

It takes me a moment to understand why I’m underwater.

I was slowed down in this process of understanding by the fact that my heart has stopped beating. Even for me, this is a little distracting.

I read in a book I found in the Springfields’ house’s library that humans consider each other dead once their heart has stopped beating. Even if the afflicted person is resuscitated afterward, through magic or medicine or whatever other means, they are still considered as having been ‘technically’ dead while their heart was silent.Continue reading

Uncle Finram flies fast, even while carrying me along. I have to squint my eyes against the wind. It only takes us a few seconds to reach the harbor.

When Uncle Finram is about to head down, however, I feel his body suddenly stiffen, and we swerve to the side. The change in direction is so abrupt I almost feel sick to my stomach, and my neck stings from the whiplash.

We alight behind a tall warehouse’s wall.

“Uncle, what…?” I start asking while rubbing the back of my neck.Continue reading